Today in History

Today in History

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        What is this?

        I've worked on a few projects where I wanted to have some basic historical information for any given day. There's a bunch of databases of historical events out there, but most of them are closed, commerical, or they suck.

        Luckily, Wikipedia has entries for each day of the year. I wrote a parser to turn this into JSON data, and a very simple app to spit out that data for any given day.

        Just for kicks, I wrote a pretty simple JS interface as well. It's generating the tickers at the top of this page


        Here's a simple API you can use to find out what happened today:

        Get today's history in JSON format at /date


        Get another day's history in JSON at /date/month/day where month and day are numbers. For example, visit /date/2/14 to get the history for February 14th.

        curl { "date": "February 14", "url": "", "data":{ "Events":[ // data here // ], "Births":[ // data here // ], "Deaths":[ // data here // ] } }

        The data is split into births, deaths, and events. Each element is a hash that looks a little like this:

        { "year": "42 BC", "text": "The Roman Senate posthumously deifies Julius Caesar", "html": "// some html that describes the event, with links to wikipedia //", "no_year_html": "// html but not prepended with the year //", "links": [ { "title": "Roman Senate", "link": "" }, { "title": "Apotheosis", "link": "" }, { "title": "Julius Caesar", "link": "" } ] }

        Depending on your needs, you can either use the pre-rendered HTML, or some sort of combination of the text and subject links.

        There's also a very simple Javascript API which you can use to put history data on a website.

        Getting the Data

        If you would like your own copy of the data, you can generate it using the code here.


        This website and data are licensed using CC BY-SA 3.0, the same license used for Wikipedia data. You are free to share and adapt the data, but it must be attributed and any alterations must be shared under a compatible license.